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Help me understand this, please.  Because I honestly want information.  Immigration issues are one of the political issues I have no knowledge about. Given that a person can not be well versed in everything, I have nearly no opinion on the matter.  I don't know any undocumented immigrants, I live in rural Minnesota with hardly any first generation immigrants of any kind nearby.  It is simply an issue I have not educated myself about.  But I do know that this site seems universally to endorse the blanket amnesty of all undocumented immigrants. Why?

Is it compassion for those less fortunate?  If so that is a noble and laudible position.  Or is it a belief that immigration laws should be rescinded like marijuana laws should be rescinded?  That the law is the problem, not the act itself?  If so, that is a reasonable and practical position.

Honestly, what is it?  We keep reading stories about nice people who have broken the immigration laws.  I never hear anyone give a reason for why those laws are to be ignored...if that is what is being endorsed on this site.

Is there any reason why immigration laws ought to exist?  Or are they just bad laws?

I seriously have no agenda here.  But it occured to me when my kids asked my opinion of it that laws have been broken and the people and politicians I typically agree with seem to feel that is ok.  But I have my doubts.

Of course a Sunday afternoon diary will disappear quickly, but I am hoping a few well informed folks could help me out here.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

    by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 02:07:46 PM PST

  •  Because people are not illegal (7+ / 0-)

    And our immigration 'system' is woefully broken.

    So declare amnesty and start all over with a new system.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 02:25:42 PM PST

  •  this statement may cause you a little grief (6+ / 0-)
    But I do know that this site seems universally to endorse the blanket amnesty of all undocumented immigrants.
    While I agree and disagree with various opinions on immigration reform I casually read on Kos, I don't think I would agree with your statement.

    You are going to be in the briar patch with that one.

    I am familiar with rural Minnesota, though. Lucky you. Wonderful place to live.

  •  Biggest Reason is We Have 1 or 2 Ohio-Fulls of Un- (11+ / 0-)

    documented people here so it's completely impractical to try to deport them. There's also the matter of family ties, and children born here.

    Since we're not going to deport most of them, sooner or later they're going to have to become citizens. We need them to have legal alien status immediately so that they become safe from exploitation by employers and others, and no longer need to underbid citizens for employment.

    I differ from many here in that I think we need immigration controls and limitations. But just as I believe in trade limitations and controls, I accept that significant immigration like significant trade is needed and beneficial.

    As to the issue of law breaking, our government has been a negligent or active contributor to this situation in a number of different ways. We need to take extraordinary action to resolve an extraordinary situation, then clean up the laws and resume normal enforcement.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 02:37:59 PM PST

  •  history shows no laws or walls work (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, Cedwyn, Kevskos

    have said it many times

    simply ask the romans = hadrian's wall ( the most heavily fortified border in the Empire) and the antonine walls didn't hold back the white barbarians from northern britania and scotland

    ask the chinese = the great wall  (which can be seen from space and undoubtedly the greatest wall ever built even compared to today)  didn't work and people just went around it

    millions of years of evolution has hard wired homo sapien genes that movement = life and chance to spread genes

    regulation and adapting to reality is the only logical solution.  Walls and laws are a waste of time, money, and cause unnecessary suffering

  •  immigration is the only *real* answer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to fixing social security's long-term financing issues.  population dynamics have the program by the short and curlies.

    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

    by Cedwyn on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 02:54:08 PM PST

  •  I will try to help, you obviously haven't (6+ / 0-)

    given the issue much attention or thought. These are my own opinions, by the way, I recognize no orthodoxy. The immigrants are here because they can get work. Employers like to hire them because come from developing countries and will accept harsher conditions and lower wages than native-born Americans. Employers actually recruit in Mexico for example. You could think of it this way: We have two signs on our border fence, Help Wanted and Stay Out. So, it's pure economics and has little to do with compassion for the less fortunate. If we hire them, they will come. As for enforcement, rounding up and deporting 12 million people would be very difficult. Hope this helps.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 02:55:52 PM PST

  •  This is my view of the immigration issue: (4+ / 0-)

    all of us are human beings no one is an alien so I feel those who are here now and live here in peace should be given a mechanism to become citizens of the United States.

    Our country is a country of immigrants with the exception of Native Americans and African-Americans who were forced to come here as slaves.  Many immigrants come here to escape poverty, political strife, persecution, and for other reasons.  We have let many people come here without providing for a way for them to become citizens or firmly direct them to leave after due process.  We have created this situation because we are at odds with each other.  Employers want workers so they have let people work.  Kids have been born here but their parents are not citizens.  There are literally millions of human beings who are here without a path to citizenship.  Often their country of origin is a distant memory.  The humanitarian issue you refer to is important.  It is time to stop keeping people in limbo while we fight each other.  Are we prepared to round up and send millions of people to countries they barely know.?  Are we prepared for the terrible impact on our economy, if we were to lose their labor?  Do we want to separate mother from child and deal with that consequence to these lives and our own lives?  We may wish to do various things concerning immigration for the future, but we have a huge national responsibilty now.  I see your concern, if the law means something then let's enforce it, if it doesn't than let's do away with it.   Trouble is we did not believe in our own laws so it is time to redefine what we will do now and what we will do in the future.  There is no concensus in the country like there is on KOS.  Here we tend to value the human aspect of a problem and insist that people be dealt with fairly and with justice for all.  Others may want a quick fix that so severely hurts people that we would not  want to put them or us through a punitive intervention like that.  Your children, if I may suggest, will understand that people are here who are not citizens and why they came here.  What will be hard to explain to them is why we let them stay and live here and won't let them get a path to citizenship like my grandmother had when she came here.  The legalities are important, but we need laws to suit the present situation and uplift us as a people and extend a helping hand to those in need.  We will be a better country for it and we can then be able to say to our children, this is what we did, to preserve human dignity, enrich Amerca as it has been since our country began as a land of opportunity for all.  

    I am not an expert on immigration but I have shared with you, how I see this complex issue.   I admire your clear request for information about it.  

  •  I have lots of personal reasons, (4+ / 0-)

    But, I'll give you a solid factual one: undocumented workers are good for the economy and for other workers.

    NYTimes: "Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy?"

    They're here. The overwhelming majority are good for our country. We need to let them stay and contine what they're doing (but at more livable wages).

    © grover

    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 03:32:53 PM PST

  •  I don't know what everyone else thinks (4+ / 0-)

    I do think we need immigration laws and border control or we're going to have a billion people living here in no time. But a lot of the non-citizens living are those whose parents brought them over when they were too little to even know where they were, and who have no deep ties to any other country; clearly they should be granted amnesty and eventual citizenship. I don't have a solution for the whole problem, but I also believe that enforcing our borders shouldn't mean locking people up for months without trial, physically abusing them, etc.  

    Please visit:

    by Noisy Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 03:39:41 PM PST

  •  An acquaintance (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, raincrow, kurt

    was brought over from Holland as a small child. She had a troubled childhood and never acquired citizenship. I believe she is over 60 y.o. She has been picked up by Immigration. She has a felony on her record from her youth, and will be deported.

    She does not speak Dutch (a notoriously difficult language to learn), and knows no one there.

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:04:17 PM PST

    •  who told you Nederlands is hard? (0+ / 0-)

      Not to mention most of the Netherlands speaks English better than most Americans.

      Not to make light of the woman's problems with our screwed up system - but let's not mix rubbish in with the facts.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:11:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's easy to read. (0+ / 0-)

        I have no personal experience, but I've heard the vowels are murder.

        Glad to hear that many of them speak English, tho.

        GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

        by gzodik on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:05:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I lived there briefly (0+ / 0-)

          Took a couple of weeks to pick it up enough to get around and cover basic living things.  It's not difficult, and even if you never learn the subtle differences you are understood and not laughed at for trying.

          You want harder to say vowels (than in English), learn Korean.

          And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

          by Mortifyd on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 09:31:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  no orthodoxy (3+ / 0-)

    Unless people think we should live in a world entirely without borders--and that is probably a minority view even on this site--then we are all recognizing the need for immigration laws of some kind. On this site, I'm guessing there is a predominant liberal view that we should adjust the status of people who are already here, even if they snuck over the border or overstayed their tourist visas, and that we should probably have more liberal and humane immigration laws in the future. There are good arguments for those views, that people have already stated.

    But even so, once you recognize the legitimacy of borders, that means you have to accept the fact that the state has the power to restrict immigration, to deport people who aren't supposed to be here, and to restrict the ability of employers to hire undocumented workers.  And if you accept all that, that means to a large extent people are accepting the legitimacy of the point of view of people on the "other side" of the immigration debate.  And that means there should be a lot of room for consensus on this issue, and that it should not be as politicized as it has become.

  •  I haven't seen any calls for "blanket amnesty" (3+ / 0-)

    Doesn't mean they aren't out there somewhere, but it's not an "orthodox" approach.  I'm not as well informed as I should be, either. But I come at the topic from a variety of experiences, not least of which is that I live in Texas, which is a very different environment than yours ;)

    For one thing, we have a horribly tangled and dysfunctional immigration system right now. It can take decades for people from some countries to legally immigrate here.  Like most of us, I am descended from "immigrants". If you can, you might look back at your own family tree to get an idea of how the system has changed. My earliest ancestors got here legally by just "showing up" in the 1700's. Other waves of immigrants had to do more - besides "showing up" they had to pass visible inspection as seemingly able bodied and without disease. More recently my Canadian mother got in easily and quickly having married my American born father back in the '40s.

    As to the "blanket amnesty" thing. Where do you get that idea? Blanket amnesty suggests a sort of "never mind how you got here, you are cool now". Most recommendations lean to people having to pay fines and pay back taxes (if any). What lots of people don't seem to realize is that many of those here "illegally" have been paying income taxes all along, knowing that if we ever got to this point that might well be requirement. IRS is happy to set up tax numbers and collect taxes without regard to immigration status, so many actually do that. The "amnesty" proposals also generally include requirements for employment, lack of any criminal record, etc.  And under most proposals all of those requirements still call for "getting in line" behind others who are awaiting immigration under existing quotas, meaning decades of a continued non-citizen status.

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:51:37 PM PST

    •  I got the "blanket amnesty" thing from (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Mywurtz

      inferences I have made from various front page and highly recced diaries.

      One has to only go as far as the first posted comment above to find exactly what I was writing idealogue talking point that does not even enter into discussion.  

      To even ask the question seemed to provoke a rather hostile first comment.  I am encouraged that the rest of the comments are far more constructive and thoughtful.

      "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

      by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:01:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Horace can be a little touchy, (0+ / 0-)

        but heart is in right place.
        And there has been a tactic used by gunloons here that starts off with "I don't know much about..." and turns out to be a sh!tstirrer. So you can understand that your diary might set off alarms with the sensitized.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:13:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  How do we want to spend our money & resources? (0+ / 0-)

    Pass smarter laws, start a new line based on the new laws, hire more Immigration people to process through our existing multimillions of immigrants, and be done with this round of it. Wait a few years, see if we have to do it again, recalibrate at that point.


    by raincrow on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:36:51 PM PST

  •  Glad you asked the question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simul Iustus et Peccator

    I'm not terribly informed on immigration issues (also a rural Minnesotan!) and I also question some of the other apparent Kossack orthodoxies.  

    I do think we need a much easier path to citizenship for the people who are already here, regardless of how they got here; followed by a better, more coherent set of policies moving forward.  In my opinion, anything that can be dismissed as "amnesty" will be a hard sell.  More practical and an easier sell politically, I think, would be a very doable path to citizenship that would put some kind of requirement on those seeking it.  Whether it's paying back taxes, taking an ESL or American government course, or having a probationary "transition" status between non-citizen and citizen....I don't know.  It seems like some people who would oppose amnesty might support something like this if they feel that it places some personal responsibility on the people seeking citizenship and creates some order in the process.  

    Then again, what do I know? :)

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:20:52 PM PST

  •  I can't speak for the general consensus, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mrs M, Simul Iustus et Peccator

    mainly because I'm not sure there is one.
    But I start from the fact the everyone in this country, including the "Native Americans" is descended from immigrants. (The Native Americans happened to get here first, by several thousand years, but still.) Until the 20th century, there were no quotas, very little control over immigration, we welcomed new people (slight caveat: New European people.) We have this big statue in New York harbor with a poem about , you know, "Send us your poor..." engraved on the base.
    With a seemingly limitless frontier and plenty of work to do, we needed all the manpower we could get and successive waves of immigrants filled the bill.
    Once the frontier closed and trains and telegraph stretched all the way across, the established earlier immigrants and their descendants started limiting the flow, imposing quotas based on the demographics of the times. That is, since there were lots of people of English ancestry, their quota was huge. There were less people of Irish ancestry, so their quota was smaller. There were almost no people (counted) that were of Central American ancestry so their quota is minuscule.
    So the 20th century wound on and we sang songs about the land of opportunity and bragged about the streets that were paved in gold and how we were the greatest, bestest place on earth and we wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
    By about mid century, we developed a culture that had risen above manual labor. But we had developed things like mass agriculture that required lots of manual labor. Farmers' kids, exposed to the ideas of a "better life" and a better paying, less arduous job elsewhere, abandoned the farms. "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, now that they've seen Paris?"
    So there was this whole group of people south of our border that were living in pitiful poverty, hearing about the streets of gold and willing to fill those agricultural jobs. One slight problem, they had to cross the border and since their quota was filled in the first hour of January 1, they had to sneak.
    Once they got across the Rio Grande, they were met with prejudice that was not mentioned in all the pretty songs and because they were here illegally, they were easy to exploit and persecute. But still, life here was better than it was in Mexico and south of that.
    And this situation was fine with the farmers who were now becoming Big Ag. Cheap labor that were too scared to speak up when they were being abused. Did I mention that slavery was abolished about 35 years before the start of the 20th century? That source of cheap labor dried up and the immigrants filled the billet. Instead of housing and feeding slaves, they paid pittance wages to immigrants who had to fend for themselves.
    Oh yeah, the trains. Back in the mid 19th century when we built those trains, we imported Chinese labor to build them, also on the pittance, just above slavery scale. When the main lines were done, the Chinese didn't go home, they settled in the terminal cities (old Chinatowns were often clustered right around the train terminals) and due to prejudice on both sides and language barriers, formed their own insular societies, complete with banks, importers, manufacturers, gangs and opium dens (Opium having been promoted by the British as a means of keeping their colonies under control). The friction between these Chinese enclaves and America surrounding them gave rise to our drug laws and was one of the spurs to setting the quotas.
    Flash forward to the 70s and Cesar Chavez.
    Farm workers organized. They want to be treated like human beings, not farm animals! Imagine that!
    Big Ag lost it's nut.
    The process of vilifying Latinos went full on. The Rightwing/Big Money was losing their favorite whipping boy: Negroes, because civil rights, so they switched over to hating on "Illegals" (I hate that word and concept but it is appropriate here).
    And Liberals took up the cause. It fit right in with our struggle for civil rights, it fit with our support of labor (even though the trade unions were very anti-hippy, pro-war in that timeframe).
    Over the course of the 70-90s, other businesses than Ag discovered how convenient it was to hire undocumented workers, for the same reasons that Ag had, cheap, scared and actually, very good workers. So demand for immigrant workers never slacked. there are probably 10 million low wage workers in this country illegally (and another couple of million who are out of work or are children), keeping our economy afloat. On one level they keep wages at the bottom end low because their employers can get away with paying them less than a living wage. That keeps the price of fresh vegetables and clean hotel rooms down. If by magic, they were all deported, our cost of living would skyrocket, our base wages would rise and several sectors would collapse or damm near it.
    So Business likes the status quo. They don't want to make it harder and they don't want to make it legal. And they need the animosity between nativists and immigrants to keep bubbling, to keep the pressure on the immigrants, so they'll keep their heads down.
    But the nativists have had a big surge politically over the past couple decades. "Build a wall, electrify it, dig a moat, fill it with alligators..."
    Those same people are the reactionary TeaBaggers, the Rightwing's shocktroops. And they have a powerful grip on Congress. And they are at odds with their Big Business backers, but the backers can't come out and say so.
    My sense of  Progressive thought on it is that we want to remove the stigma from these workers, bring them into the mainstream, extend to them the same civil rights that we enjoy and believe are universal human rights.
    That keeping them in legal limbo is bad for them, bad for us and bad for our country as a whole.
    What to do about it is very much still in question.
    Personally, I believe that there should be no borders at all, I have real problems with nationalism, it's the third largest cause of war (after religion and money/resources). I'd use the flags as kindling to burn down the borderposts. But that's a minority opinion.
    The idea of deporting people is wrong. Even criminals. If they committed crimes here then they should be tried and punished here, not dumped on the country they came from. And people who come here, willing to work, willing to join the military to defend this place, I believe, have already demonstrated their citizenship. Kids who were brought here by their parents, that grew up here and are assimilated into the borg, are, in every regard but one, already Americans and that one detail needs to be remedied.
    As I said, I can't say that I speak for DKos or for the Progressive Democratic community and I'm sure that people here will agree and disagree with what I've written, but thanks for the opportunity to get this down in words.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 07:40:37 AM PST

    •  Gracias. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As it usually is, "follow the money" is an apt explanation for just about any ill in this country.  I want to be at least as compassionate and reasonable as the next Kossack, but it seemed to me there was little more than site specific orthodoxy going on and a huge willful blind spot to the fact that immigration laws were being flouted.  Lord knows I've transgressed by asking the unorthodox questions before.

      "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

      by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 09:14:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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